Friday, May 5, 2017

Another Angel

This year a black cloud seems to be looming over me.  After the death of my sister I didn't think life could become more complicated and upsetting.  I was wrong - it did.  We canceled an IVF cycle in January because it started the day after my sister passed away.  Emotionally and mentally I couldn't handle it, even though I knew she'd want us to persist.  We did 2 IVFs to have our daughter and 2 full cycles since then in an attempt for a sibling; 2 others had to be canceled (one for my sister's death and another due to nonresponse to medication).  This time around we've been at this since June and have been faced with more setbacks than I can count. It has me thinking this isn't meant to be and we were doomed from the beginning.

After my sister's death, we decided to wait until the next cycle and started yet another round this past February.  If you understand the IVF world, you basically have to place your entire life on hold during each cycle.  This was our 6th total cycle (4th full cycle).  It's not the typical IVF protocol and is what is called the long protocol.  It's called long for a reason.  Most cycles last a few weeks (maybe 4), however due to my age and nonresponse to medications I had to take the long way and stimulate with different medications 3 weeks prior to the start what I call the "real IVF" (injectable medications to stimulate egg production and surgery to retrieve them). The side effects are no picnic but I have to deal because these are the cards we were unfortunately dealt.  We play each hand as best as we know how....there's no manual for how to handle infertility.  But I keep my poker face on (most of the time) until at home in the wee hours of the night or at extremely unexpected times it all comes undone...and never gracefully and rarely seen (even by my husband).  After 5 weeks or so on medications, we had egg retrieval surgery April 3rd and embryo transfer April 6th.  Usually I am not shy about telling people what's happening but this time I felt the need for privacy.  I think mostly because people have good intentions for when they give advice or make comments but often it ends up hurting when you are already hurt so much.  

For once everything seemed to be going smoothly and we've had the best response yet.  4 embryos or possible future babies as I saw them!!!!  Even with the rounds we did to get our daughter we only ever had 2 embryos ....nothing to freeze if we have to try again.  We were never so lucky and I was so jealous of others that could freeze anything.  This is my life....imagine being jealous of someone having IVF!  I decided to add debt to our already growing IVF debt and add acupuncture.  It worked to get our miracle baby after all!  Research actually backs it up and the doctors recommend it.  But it's pricy on an already expensive procedure, however it seemed to pay off!  The doctor recommended we transfer 3 or our 4 embryos due to my age and history of embryos arresting (stopping growth).  Likely they arrest because they aren't genetically normal, however since we cannot afford an additional $5,000 for PGD (pre genetic testing) we have to take our chance and hope and pray they are fine.  At first I was worried we'd have triplets but my fears soon calmed down when I realized the odds for us are so's more likely NOTHING would take than all least at our age.  Like with our daughter, I had a suspicion it worked so I home tested the day before blood testing with the doctor.  It was Easter day and we were thrilled and SO happy.  Life couldn't get better.  Words just can't describe.  I really believed my sister was helping me from above.  For some reason this time I felt a strong need to keep things to ourselves and a few select people until we heard a heartbeat.  Our luck hasn't been the best lately.  Knowing our ages and chances of things going wrong, I thought it was best.  There's nothing worse than announcing happy news only to have to tell tons of people it didn't work, having to relive your nightmare each conversation.  Awful!  Having  to answer questions a million times about something so difficult would be more than I could bare.  This is why I HATE it when people ask if the procedure (IVF) worked.  It's very touchy and unless you've experienced it's heartaches, you DON'T and CAN'T understand.  Being pressured to tell news before you are ready is awful and selfish for the people who want to know.  But even with the uncertainty it didn't stop me from being happy, even if for a few days.  I knew it may be short lived but i celebrated by buying Kendal a T-shirt that said "big sister".  It was how I wanted to eventually tell everyone she was going to have a sibling.  Only my big reveal won't happen.  I even jumped the gun an did some much needed purging and emptied a spare room.  While we did need to get rid of things....I now have a painful reminder of what will never be.  The empty room that was once a painful reminder before my daughter is back (my excitement got the best of me).  

After getting a positive pregnancy blood test at the doctor they make you go for blood work every 2 days.  A hormone called HCG should double every 2 days.  If not, it's a likely indicator something is wrong and that you possibly have an ectopic pregnancy or will miscarry.  Because the baby is too small to be seen at this stage, the blood work is the only way they can keep tabs on the baby.  I can tell you waiting for these phone calls is absolute torture!  Each time I receive a call I am at work and with patients.  Even with bad news, I have to pretend like life is great and my worries don't matter.   2 of the 4 blood draws we were told bad news.  Our levels did not double and in fact only went up about 55%.  60% is the cutoff for a viable pregnancy in 85% of cases.  2 blood tests were great.  It was a 50% chance something wasn't right but all we could do is wait for the scheduled ultrasound at 6 weeks.  I was beside myself thinking it was an ectopic pregnancy but my fears were eased when we saw the gestational sac last Friday right where it should be.  However they did not see a yolk sac (what gives the baby nutrition until the placenta forms) or the baby.  With our daughter we saw everything right away.  They were slightly worried but said many times, it's still too soon to see the baby....but in one week we should DEFINITELY see it.  At that time I just knew.  I wish I could explain it but I knew.  The fetus grows 1 mm per day so within 7 days it would be big enough to be definitely seen..... only it wasn't.  I went for the scan today and heard the worst news.  There wasn't a heartbeat.  And even worse, there wasn't even a baby.  The baby never grew past last week.  In extremely rare cases it can be missed due to US error or the baby hiding, but this is RARE.  These people are experts, it's not just a typical OBGYN.  My gestational sac where the baby should have  been also measured over a week smaller than it should be indicating the baby stopped growing.  It's called a missed miscarriage.  My body still thinks it's pregnant and will not expel the baby/contents like a normal miscarriage.  I have to induce it via a pill or surgery.  It's so incredibly heartbreaking after all we've been through.  To FINALLY be pregnant after months/years of trying, only to be told you lost it.  Getting pregnant was our issue...not keeping it.  But even WE aren't immune to a miscarriage.  Likely the embryo was not genetically normal.  Most that aren't never implant to make you become pregnant, but this one did.  Regardless it STILL hurts.  Incredibly so.  I go Monday to see another doctor to confirm the baby passed away.  If they cannot see a baby or a heartbeat I need to decide what to do.  I can wait a little while  before I decide (1 to 2 weeks to have scans and convince myself there really is no baby anymore).  However it is more than likely this will turn out badly and end in a miscarriage.  This is beyond heartbreaking and I'm not sure I can emotionally keep doing this...that and we simply don't have the funds to keep trying.  It's just so hard to give up when I KNOW I can get pregnant but don't have the money to keep trying.  Infertility and IVF are so so hard.  But a miscarriage on top is more than even I can bare and I feel I have been pretty strong the past 6 years.  It takes a toll though.  It takes months for just once cycle/chance and I'm running out of time.   It's just not fair.  

Now that my sister has left me for heaven I have an even stronger urge to give my daughter a sibling.  It's a gift.  It's something I can't explain but am heartbroken it likely will never happen.  Talk about major mom guilt not being able to give your child something you want so badly.  All I can imagine is all the sibling stuff I had and cherish now more than ever that she will not get to experience.  I'm robbing her of something so important.  Lately I am so distraught I have been mentally absent (more mom guilt). I want to enjoy her growing up, yet this hampers the experience.  Another thing robbed.  My only comfort is knowing my baby is with my sister.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

My biggest cheerleader

Since my last post my life has forever been changed.  It's not been an easy few weeks.  After several setbacks and a canceled cycle, we failed our IVF cycle in December in our quest to have a sibling for our daughter.  January was the start of another cycle.  The day before it started my sister unexpectedly passed away leaving me, the rest of our family (7 brothers and sisters, mom and dad), her 3 children and husband behind.  It came out of no where and we still have little answers.  We were completely blindsided and as a result heartbroken beyond belief.  Infertility is difficult, but this is a whole other beast.  She died January 16th.  I had an appointment the very next day to get the cycle rolling.  I kept it knowing she would want me to.  She was behind me all the way and was cheering me on throughout this entire journey.  I can't imagine not having her in my cheerleading section.  The medications were started that day but I had to and wanted to help her husband and kids plan her funeral.  I tried my best but just couldn't get my head on straight.  The medication regime is a bit complicated and I messed it up; taking the wrong ones at the wrong time.  If you aren't versed in fertility treatments and hormones it needs to be spot on with little room for error.  After I discovered the error and had that nasty endometrial scratch test (for nothing), it was decided between my doctors and I to cancel the cycle.  It was the best thing.  I wanted to go in with little regrets.  If it failed, I would be blaming myself for messing up. 

So that brings me to the present.  I'm still grieving my dear sister but I know she'd want me to press forward.  Now having another baby means more to me than ever now.  I want my daughter to share the joys I had.  Having a sibling is a wonderful gift and I want to give her that to her so badly.  I'm on week 2 of about a 6 week cycle: 3 weeks on about 9 pills and Tgel followed by 1 to 2 weeks of injectable hormones.  I know I can do this and I will.  It does get least the  physical aspect.  I know somewhere in heaven is my biggest cheerleader cheering me on.  For now I am pressing forward, doing what is asked of me and doing my best to be a good mom in the meantime.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

10 things your friend with infertility never tells you

Recently I came across a post someone else had written.  I can't take credit for it, but liked it enough to share.  It was from the "Infertility Sucks" facebook page....yes people there are facebook pages out there on this stuff.  It may amaze you.  But so many couples are exhausted from suffering in silence and social media is a great way to not feel so alone and isolated when so many times we are. The post, among others I've read from various people, really amaze me on how much people who can't make babies feel the same, even though our stories are different.  I'd like to share:

"10 things your friend with infertility never tells you:
1) I cry alot (but I still smile)
2) I appreciate hugs. Not advice
3)Yep, it hurts EVERY time (still)
4) I put my feelings aside for others because I feel guilty
5) I am sad for me but so happy for you
6) I need days alone just to grieve
7) I still want to be included in stuff
8) I feel like an outsider sometimes
9) I don't want to hear you complain about your pregnancy
10) I appreciate you telling me your pregnant 1:1"

After reading this list, I decided it pretty much sums up most of what I feel in a nutshell.  My grief and sadness are much like a rain storm.  Some days it's a light drizzle, while others it's a heavy downpour, coming in waves and never seems to end.   Sometimes it's predictable. But many times, like weather, it's unpredictable.  I may expect a sunny day but it turns out to be a rainy one.  Sometimes you can prepare for it and sometimes it catches you completely off guard.  And on a rare occasion, I see a rainbow.  It's not the best analogy but one that most can relate to.  

I went through the list and thought about how each one relates to me and my personal experience.  For some people it may shock you that I DO cry alot.  Sometimes it's the hormones that I have to inject into my body, but mostly it's because I'm sad.  I can't control what is happening to me and it's simply not fair.  It's hard on my body, my relationship and my emotions.  It's a hard pill to swallow when everyone around you seems to be able to have so easily what you are killing yourself to get.  Lately I am learning that crying is not because I am weak, but because I have been so strong for so long...and I am tired. Sometimes the strongest ones are those that smile and cry through the pain.  

As far as advice:  trust me, we've heard it ALL and are spending our life's savings to get the greatest advice of all.  A hug or "I'm sorry it's not fair" is simply enough.  We aren't expecting you to fix it.  

Number 3 is a big one for me.  After reading alot of posts, articles and blogs, I was happy to hear I'm not alone.  The pain of our struggle NEVER leaves me.  The scar will always be there.  Not one day goes by that I don't think about it.  Some days it's a mere passing thought, while others it weighs heavily on my mind and heart.  Ironically even after having a baby, the pain simply does not disappear.  Oh how I wish it did.  It's amazing how simple it is for these emotions to flood back when something reminds you of it.  

If you announce a pregnancy please remember that my reaction may not be what you hoped for and what everyone else's is.  If it is, likely I am mustering every bit of courage I have not to break down and cry in front of you. I reserve that for my own privacy and to make you not feel bad over something you can't help. You should be happy. And remember I am happy for you too....just terribly sad for myself.  It's another reminder of what I want so badly too but can't have.  I feel like a shit that I can't be the friend I want to be, ask questions and be more involved.  It's not that I don't care, because I do, but my own grief takes over me in ways I so wish I could control.  This is why I appreciate you telling me in I can prepare myself as my emotions are sometimes uncontrollable.  I feel selfish for all of this and this makes me feel like a bad person sometimes.  If you only knew what it was like, I hope you would understand.  

The sadness of not being able to make a family is incomprehensible.  My best words couldn't even begin to describe it.   I am so glad, my friend, that none of this you will ever have to know firsthand.  I am not asking you to feel sorry for me, but on occasion give me a "free pass".  There's alot on my plate.  Few things test people's faith and their relationships.  I can tell you this one is big.   No husband and wife should have to endure the stress.  I ask that you "sit with me in the darkness" as I know you can't fix it for me.  I ask that you have patience. Maybe one day I can return the favor. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What I really want people to understand about infertility

When people ask, I try my best to explain the process of IVF, what it entails, the behind the scenes stuff and the emotions that are pretty common for most of us unlucky enough to be experiencing it.  Too often I keep it simple for the sake of the person having to listen, but also for my sanity.  Sometimes when people ask me a question, I want so badly to get them to REALLY understand what is going on and how I feel. Often people just ask to be polite, not really wanting to know.  I'm also afraid they couldn't handle the truth and that it would be too hard for me choke it out.  If people would really want to know and I had enough time and words to explain it, this is what I would really want people to know:

1)  No one going through IVF needs advice.  We understand sometimes people want to fix things for us or just don't know what else to say.  I get's an uncomfortable topic.  But if it's uncomfortable for you, imagine how I feel?  As far as advice goes: trust me, we are paying alot of money to have the best professionals fix it for us.  We've spent HOURS reading every bit of information we can get our hands on and I can guarantee you have tried it all.  When you long for something badly enough, you'll do anything and do your research.  Just because something you heard worked for your friend's cousin's neighbor doesn't mean it'll work to us.  People are different, have different issues and respond to treatment differently.  If there was a magical cure for infertility, everyone would be able to have kids.  And sometimes advice can HURT.  Things like "relax it'll happen" , "when God's ready for you it'll happen" and "pray more" are given, it trivializes and invalidates what is happening.  Infertility is a MEDICAL DISEASE.  You wouldn't tell a person with cancer to relax!  So don't tell that to someone with any other disease!  Like any other disease, it requires medical treatment and cannot simply be cured with relaxing, home remedies, or praying to saints.  

2)  Silence is often worse than bad advice.  When someone close to me knows I'm struggling, it makes me more sad that they don't ask how I feel and what's going on.  Of course there is a time and place to ask and HOW someone brings it up can mean all the difference. Not saying anything makes me believe they don't care enough to know.  This is something SO important to me, so if someone loves me it should be important to them as well.  I'm sure people feel like they are being nosey and intruding, but I'll often keep my answers simple or change the subject if I'm not up for the topic just yet. Sometimes a simple text or "how are you feeling" will do and can make my day.

3)  When people who've never experienced infertility say they understand how I feel: you don't unless you've experienced infertility. Maybe your sister or best friend picked the unlucky card and had the unfortunate experience of infertility treatments.  Hearing about it, even from someone close, and experiencing it are quite different.  I can assure you as I had no clue what I was getting myself into.  Not even the best storywriter could have prepared me for what was coming. Maybe you've had a similar heartache like losing a loved one or you have a medical condition that's difficult to live with.  While there are similarities such as loss, heartache and anger, each situation is different.  Even each person's experience with infertility is different.  It angers me when someone who's never had to deal with sticking themselves with endless needles, has never had to go through some invasive and embarrassing tests on a normal basis, has had to deal with hormonal changes, or has experienced heartbreak after heartbreak, not once but EVERY MONTH or with every failed procedure tells me they understand what I feel!  While some life experiences are similar, nothing can quite compare.  You have NO IDEA unless you've dealt with infertility first hand. Instead try saying you can only imagine how I feel. 

4)  It's pretty obvious that are alot of emotions to deal with when you want to have a family but are physically incapable. But the extent of these emotions no one can ever begin to understand unless you've lived it.  It's not like I didn't get the big job promotion I was working towards....I didn't get the PERSON I long for.  It's not a thing I lost, but a human being....a future and with that my dreams and expectations.  It's the hardest let down I can imagine.  During each procedure, I have already imagined that little embryo 3 years later building sandcastles or singing in the school play.  Losing that dream is like losing a piece of me. 

5)  Hormones suck.  Everyone jokes about women and PMS, but until you've been pumped with more hormones than an elephant can handle don't joke.  While the medication is like magic, making your body do miraculous things, it also reeks havoc.  You are already in a sad, stressful and vulnerable situation.  Add hormones to that.  It's no joke and should never be the butt of one.  They can turn normal anger into rage and normal sadness into the deepest depression imaginable.  You have little control over it.  Sometimes the littlest thing someone can say or do will set you off and you have little to no control over your emotions.  Because your issue cannot be physically seen, far too many people are not forgiving when you have a bad day or moment.  

6)  It's more painful than you think.  You do however get used to it.  In a normal IVF cycle, you are probably stuck with needles over 6 dozen times....all within about 4 weeks.  Who likes needles?  Some aren't so bad, but others hurt! They go deep into the muscle and the lumps and bruising can last days to weeks.  At one point in time,  both my wrists were bruised from IV lines, both sides of my stomach from hormone injections, both elbows from blood draws and both butt cheeks from yet more hormone injections.   And the needles aren't the worst of it.  There are tests and procedures like HSGs, hysteroscopies, uterine biopsies and so on.  Without going into detail, I can assure you they are no picnic.

7)  You lose your humility and it can be demoralizing.  Imagine having your private parts exposed on a regular basis to complete strangers.  HUNDREDS of times?  Does this sound pleasant?  Nope!

8)  It's so lonely.  Even though I know so many others out there are going through what I am, you still feel alone.  The fact is no one really close to me has had this experience.  Out of all my 7 brothers and sisters and all my friends, I am the only one unlucky enough.  You can't help to ask yourself "why me?!!"  You can't help to be angry and feel sorry for yourself at times.  It's simply not fair.  Again, it's not like I didn't get the house I wanted or the car I wanted or the sweater I's a CHILD and FAMILY we're talking about.  I'm the only one out of everyone who has to deal with this and I have to watch everyone else have what I can't!  Sadness over what's happening can bulldoze you at any time.  So many times have I felt like no one understands.  So many times I have sat alone in my house just wanting to pick up the phone to talk or hope someone called or texted me how I am.  People assume that because time has passed, I must be feeling better.  Check ins and phone calls that I do get, get lesser and lesser, leaving me to feel lonelier and more isolated. 

9)  Sometimes hearing simple conversations can hurt.  Everyone loves to talk about their kids.  I LOVE my child and LOVE to talk about her.  I get it!!  But many times in the back of my head I am hurt and jealous.  People with multiple kids get the experience of raising a child more than once.  They get to give birth more than once, they get to take a newborn from the hospital more than once, they get to hear their childs first words more than once...... the list goes on.  I LOVED and cherished these experiences with my child.  Is it so wrong to want to experience it again and to feel angry and denied I can't?  I've often heard people with multiple kids talking about how they spoiled their youngest the most and seemed to cherish these moments the most.....because they knew it would be their last time experiencing it.  Imagine if it was your ONLY time and you weren't given a choice?  I am so grateful and blessed I even had this experience. Having enjoyed it so much the first time, I crave it again.  People often peg me as being ungrateful and greedy for wanting more.  If they took the time to know why I want another child, they would see how grateful I am.  I try to take so little for granted.  Sure there are times I get frustrated with parenting and complain.  It's far and few between when I do.  It angers me when I hear so many people complaining so often about a gift I would die to have!

10)  I have (sometimes irrational) fears of something happening to my child.  If you can grasp all the hardships I went through to get her and all the failures, it would be easy to see.  When things only worked 1 time out of 100, failure and negativity are easy to learn.   I fear losing her because she is my ONLY child....I don't get a back up or second chance at raising her.  I worked SO hard to get her that I am sometimes paralyzed with fear of losing her.  At times people need to understand these fears and let me have them.  I may have more rules than some parents, I may watch over her more than other parents and I may be over protective of her than most.  TRY to understand and don't judge.  She is MY child....I worked for her....let ME raise her.  Let me have these fears and privileges.  I earned them.

11)  It's difficult to hear people speak about money. Ok...this sounds like a weird one and to some extent it is.  But whoever said money didn't buy happiness, never had infertility.  It takes THOUSANDS of dollars to have treatment.  95% of what we paid was not covered under insurance.  Yet insurance covers treatments for other nonthreatening diseases.  In many cases it even covers things such as viagra and abortions.  When you aren't blessed enough to have children naturally this is hard to hear. Our disease and problem apparently don't mean very much, yet others do?  The point is that you can't have a baby without money.  You can't even get a chance at trying.  I've drained my life savings not once, but twice.  We have pretty decent jobs and STILL have a hard time coming up with the funds to make this happen. We struggle.  We bought a house, went on vacations and bought some fun toys long before infertility reared it's ugly head.  What couple puts an extra fund away and labels it the "I can't have a baby fund'?  Noone I know.  Clearly most people take for granted being able to have children the old fashioned and free way.  I rarely buy frivolous things anymore, we cut our expenses and are living a much simpler life to try to afford treatments and a family...something others get for free.  Who wouldn't be upset about having to pay for something everyone else gets for free?    When people talk about their $30,000 car or $5,000 ring or their new gadget, it's difficult.  Yes they earned those things, but so did I....I have a good paying job and can't have those things because I have to spend my money on getting pregnant while they didn't.  That $5,000 ring or new toy they have could have paid for medications.  That $30,000 car could have potentially bought us a family!  Even though it's not MY money, it's hard not to think that way.  It's not fair I'm in debt for something everyone else got for free!  I didn't ask for this.  It may very well be that we have to give up or dream of a bigger family simply because we cannot afford to keep trying.   It's a difficult pill to swallow when others get to spend their hard earnings on fun stuff and "normal" people bills.

12)  Pregnancy.  This is a hard one.  It's a fact of life that the world won't stop for me.  Friends and family will have kids....and what took me 3 years to try for and get will take them 3 months.  Again, not fair but a fact.  It's something I see every day.  I don't need to be reminded that your husband just looked at you and you got pregnant.  Some things just don't need to be said.  You being able to have children naturally is already hard enough to deal with..... how quickly you were able to have them is even harder to hear.  I WANT to be you.... only I can't.  Fueling the fire of jealousy is something people shouldn't do.  Having pregnant people around me and families IS's something I'm still learning to handle.  Seeing someone have what you want SO badly is gut wrenching.  I want people to understand that sometimes I need space.  If I don't attend a party or a shower or I leave the room for awhile, it's likely because I am sad and needed space.  I am happy for you, but beyond sad for me.  

13)  I want people to understand I still feel like I have a hole in my heart.  I feel my family is incomplete.  I love my daughter SO much that I long for more.  I want a to experience it again and I want a bigger family.  I have siblings and firsthand understand the importance of them.  I want SO badly to give her that gift.  It kills me that I can't.  I feel like I am letting her down.  When people tell me that I should be happy that I have one child, it hurts.  While they are half right (because I am lucky), what makes me different than any other warm blooded human that wants more children?  No one judges someone who had their kids easily and naturally so why judge me for wanting more....wanting more comes from such a good place.  It's the holidays and I see post after post on the meaning of christmas and the importance of family.  Most people would agree that the MOST important things in our lives are our health and family.  Everything else is second.  If people can see and preach how their family is so important, can't you see that mine is too? Imagine not being able to create one of your own?  It's quite difficult to hold two extreme emotions in your hands: happiness what you do have and sadness for what you can't.0

14)  If you have questions ask!  The more educated people are about infertility the better they can help.  There's no dumb question. I know sometimes it may seem like you are intruding or you just can't seem to say anything right but I'll be honest or change the subject.  Asking shows you care and want to help me.  

15)  Don't just support me during the results.  It's not being a very good friend if all you care about are the end results.  There's alot I go through in between results and many times this is when I need the most support.

16) Simple day to day tasks can be hard.  You often feel like a failure because your body can't perform the way it was meant to....the way everyone else's can.  Even going to the grocery store can turn into a disaster if you accidentally turn down the wrong isle and end if in the baby section.  You'll never have any idea what it's like to long for a family you cannot create.  Seeing others makes you sad, even though you are happy for them. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Failure is never easy, especially when you put so much time and effort into something you want so badly.  We spent months preparing for this.  We literally poured our blood (lots of it), sweat, tears (too many to count), and bank account into this.  We gave it our best effort and in the end it wasn't enough. It failed.  I am beyond sad.  It's hard to even come up with the feeling that describes it.  Fu%*ing angry, numb, hopeless, devastated.  There's not enough words.  My fingers usually flow over the keyboard effortlessly. Today however they are just sluggish and fumbling. My mind is a jumble of various thoughts.  If this were something different, perhaps I'd be allowed to grieve.  I'd be given time or an allowance for not being myself and for feeling sad and sorry for myself. Yet it seems that because I haven't lost someone or something tangible that it's no big deal and just another day.  But I have lost something: the dream of a family, of a child, of my future and with that a piece of my heart and happiness. I had to return work today and pretend nothing ever happened.  I'm dying on the inside.  After awhile you get pretty good at it to the point you can almost fool yourself.  Even if I did show my emotions, few take the time to understand them.  I've gotten all sorts of "advice" and criticism lately: pray to saints, don't lose hope, eat this.  Yet few people give me what I actually NEED:  Validation... and maybe an ear to listen. Validation that this situation just plain sucks.  I don't need advice how to fix it.  No one can, not even a team of the best doctors.  I don't need advice how to feel:  trust me I have many feelings!  I don't need to be made to feel guilty and greedy for wanting another child when I was already so lucky to be blessed with one.  That's the last thing I need to be reminded of.  It's hurtful and trivializes how I feel.  What makes me so different from any other warm blooded human that wants more than one child?  Am I so different?  Can't I be grateful for what I have and at the same time be sad for what I don't?  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Round Two

So this is round 2....well 3 really.  We are working on baby number 2, but this is our third IVF.  We are hoping with all our being that with love and the help of science we can create a sibling for our daughter.  

This was a long time coming. I wanted to write about it but for alot of reasons I didn't.  I couldn't really.  Chasing a toddler around keeps me busy as does work. But the real reason is that if I put it in writing I have to acknowledge its happening again and am forced to bring up some pretty painful emotions.  Emotions that I've been so good at suppressing and forgetting since our daughter arrived.  All these years the emotional baggage this journey has brought us was merely in the back of the closet.  A little dusty and out of the way for awhile....but like with any journey, you eventually need your luggage.  Now the "baggage" is in the front of the closet. be honest it's in the middle of the room, unkempt, and I'm tripping over it.  I suppose, like most people would think, having a successful IVF and giving birth to our dream baby would be enough to put the baggage to the curb forever.  I've learned this is not true.  I was pretty good for my daughters first year of life. Baby announcements no longer made me curl up in a ball and cry. But by the time she turned 1.5, I knew it was soon time to start thinking of a sibling.  I'm not 20 anymore after all and time and my age are big factors.  We weren't sure it would even be a possibility financially but we hit the jackpot. My insurance now covers much of the cost!  There is a limit of course but it was better than we had before.  We just knew we had to try.  If not, we'd always wonder "what if". So we had to wait until the insurance kicked in. That was June.  It took months to complete the re-testing and jumping over many hurdles that almost stopped us dead in our tracks.  After finally getting the help we needed financially we were hit with a wrecking ball.  One of the tests deemed us not to be candidates for IVF!  My husbands sperm was 100% dead.  0% chance!  Within several weeks the issue was figured out and we began the process of IVF.  Of course with that, the bills started and our checkbook bleeds cash.  We had a few other glitches with the pharmacy and medications but after alot of stress, that too eventually got resolved.  Then wrecking ball number 2 hit:  IVF number 3 was canceled mid cycle.  I spent alot of money on wasted medication, spent weeks preparing, months taking medications and several days injecting hormones.  All for nothing.  We were devastated.  My body, 3 years older than the last IVF, just had enough.  I didn't respond.  Only ONE egg!  The medication and protocol just wasn't enough.  It was a big hit for me because it was out of my control and confirmed the fact that I'm getting older and am running out of time.  

Fast forward a few weeks and we started a whole new protocol with 3 times as many medications (and side effects).  So that brings me to now.  Monday was the day of our egg retrieval surgery.  While knowing what was going to happen made it easier, waiting for the results NEVER gets easier.  They were able to retrieve 9 eggs.  It was more than expected because of my age but I was still disappointed because with our daughter I had 14.  With our 9 eggs, only 5 were good.  Only 2 fertilized.  As of now we have 2 embryos, 2 possibilities of having a sibling, and 2 dreams.  Our embryos have a history of dying before they make it to transfer and tomorrow morning is the big day. I may show up and find they didn't make it and learn our dream has died.  It's a real possibility.  Last time we had double the number at this stage, so more possibilities.  We know all it takes is one but also know how fragile this process can be.  I am praying we jump over one hurdle at a time and make it until tomorrow.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Change is hard....Even good changes.  Like taxes and death, change is inevitable.  A friend recently confided in me that I've changed since having a child.  I'm not sure and didn't ask if the changes were good or bad, but the point is this comment made me reflect as I often do.  

Even though some people are adamant that children will not change them, it is nearly impossible for them to NOT change you...or at the very least your lifestyle.  Most people who plan on having children realize and accept this.   Assuming you're not strictly referring to lack of sleep, lack of time, and divided attention, not all these changes are bad otherwise the human race would have ended long before I arrived!  For those of you reading this that are parents, I don't need to tell you what those wonderful blessings are...the kisses and hugs you get are only a few perks that melt your heart!  

I was one of those naive people who said children would never change me.  The more I thought about it the more ridiculous and impossible it sounds!  If I didn't want my life to change, then WHY did I want a family?  Of course I wanted my life to change!  After some more reflecting I think I meant that children will not change who I am....but realized my lifestyle would change.  And after a bit more reflection, I realized my daughter didn't change experience with infertility did...or at the very least changed me more than having a baby did.  I can honestly say that I really believe had I not gone through the trials and tribulations of infertility and had children as planned on my timeline, I'd be a different mother and a different person....and I can't say that would be a good thing.  While I can't prove this theory, I had a pretty good idea who I was before and after both children and infertility.  

To try to put things into perspective: imagine something you want  so badly with every fiber of your being but can't no matter how hard you try or what you bad that if it were legal and you had no morals or conscience you'd consider killing for it. While everyone has different experiences, imagine it not feeling or being a very positive experience.  There are alot of variable that go into what you perceive:  support system, personality traits,  how you are treated by others and outcomes are only a mere few.  For example some people with cancer have a great support system and attitude while others have the opposite experience which is mostly despair.  I'm not saying people who seem to have a better outlook have a walk in the park with their illness, but perhaps have different coping strategies that puts things into a different perspective.  Much like cancer or any other disease or illness, infertility is life good and bad ways.  For me, I think the most difficult part of infertility was people not understanding the impact and importance on my life and my happiness....often invalidating my feelings.  I recently read an article written by someone who experienced both cancer and infertility (God bless them!) and she said her experience with infertility was more difficult.  Her reflection was because cancer is so sadly commonplace these days that many people are better equipped to understand how to support you, what to say and what not to.  Many people don't "get" and aren't sensitive to the feelings those of us with infertility experience and unknowingly say hurtful things and invalidate our feelings.  You often tend to feel invalidated, de-feminized because your body can't do what it's meant to do, and insanely jealous that others  have what you want so badly and so easily....and so many don't realize what a gift it is!!!!  Experiencing and reflecting on these moments for so many years  is what I believe changed who I am.   While I may not be the funnest, most care free, and available person anymore, I have gained so many more positive traits.  I am more sensitive to my own and others feelings yet have learned to have tough skin,  I tend to think before I speak alot more,  I tend to know "who my audience is" before I say things that may unknowingly be hurtful, I tend to be more compassionate and sympathetic....something simply (or not so simply) having a baby didn't cause me to do.  Also, because I learned what really is important my life, how fragile it is and how hard it was to come least for me....I have little tolerance for any unneeded drama and negativity.  I take many relationships more seriously and value them more because I realize the importance and fragility of them...yet have had to bow out of some relationships because they were more draining and toxic than rejuvenating.  I think that my daughter would always be number one and even without infertility I'd put her first and make decisions accordingly...but I have a totally different perspective on what's important in my life as a direct result of infertility.  For that I am thankful.  I don't think I would have realized this as soon, if at all, had it not been for my experience.  

Any life altering experience is bound to change person.  I realize not all traits I gained were positive as this was truly a traumatizing time in my life.  My coping strategies could have been better but I played the cards the best I knew how at the time.  I tend to trust alot of people less as a result of being let down by them, tend to hide my feelings out of fear of having them hurt or invalidated, am a bit more jaded, definitely frustrated, and resentful at times that we had to deal with this.  The first step is to realize next step is to change these feelings into more positivity.  While my struggle with infertility doesn't define me, it has definitely SHAPED me. Change isn't always a bad thing.  Everyone has some emotional baggage and how we react and change from it is different person to person. Change only shows you hopefully learned and grew as a person as a result of your experience.   Regardless of what life throws at you, most people aren't the same person they were 10 years ago...I am learning to love my new skin as my personal evolution continues.  I have learned that I may need to help friends and family realize, respect and accept, and learn the "new" me and hopefully they will love me for it.